'We are the lions in the world of lambs.'
The reason behind her tears was simple, but yet difficult to explain. She cried for all those stares, insults, jabs at her. The loneliness was killing her, choking her like metal wall, pressing against her chest, sucking the life out of her slowly.
Maybe she was depressed and needed help, but that would change nothing. It won't bring her friends back, it won't bring her heart back. She felt like her sanity was about break, dangling on the thin line. And for the second time in her life she was more than afraid. She let out a laugh, it sounded empty, bitter.
Hermione was always afraid to be left behind.
Since the day when her irresponsible parents forgot her. How in the world could you forget a four-year-old ? Leaving her in empty, dark house, filled with shadows too clear for her childish and wild imagination.
For 'a few minutes' they said. Only to return after six hours drunk and laughing their heads off, not caring for a small whimpering girl, curled up in the corner of their corridor with her plushy rabbit toy, sobbing her eyes out, hungry and scared shitless.
Of course they were happy, almost glowing when they find out that she was a special.
A witch, capable of things simple humans wouldn't even be able to think of. Not even trying to hide the happiness of getting rid of her. They didn't care that she would be sent away. Into a whole 'another world.
She was happy too. Despite her young age all she wanted to do since that night, was to get away.
Hermione almost all her life felt like she didn't belong in this simple, bland world. With these people who don't take responsibility for their actions, 'Muggles' she later learned they were called. Even they could sense that she was different, strange, almost out of this world. Since the first day she stepped her tiny foot in the kindergarten. An outcast.
But nothing changed when she got to Hogwarts.
Just because she was a little smarter and could actually use her brain. Naturally, she was picked on. Her so called 'friends' were nice to her but behind her back she was the topic of many jokes and laughs. She pretend not to hear them when their whispers got louder and louder but then later deep into the night they were haunting her, making her shed big, sad tears.
She had Ron and Harry, at least. Maybe, that, was what kept her sane all this time. Just maybe, she was finally happy with them. The Golden Trio.
Huh, what absurd that was. As years went on they started to talk less. Most of the time she would be alone, only remembered when there was a paper due or yet another mystery the boys were stuck at figuring out. The war, Hermione thought, was her happiest and the most saddest part. Because she was needed the most then but this is now.
That word hurt her inside, tearing her apart slowly. She would scream inside, but her face showed nothing. It was blank. Now days it usually was like that, blank. Their friendship, that once was un-breakable, now was shattered and it was all because of one person.
I didn't help that Ron was fancying her. She was disgusted, all though not showing it with her face. Blank once again. Politely trying to inform him that she didn't feel the same and that he was just a friend, she declined his offer to 'go out' and that his constant touching made her feel uncomfortable.
Things went downhill from there and it was only the beginning of their last year in Hogwarts.
He got red, redder then his hair and proceeded to say every curse word he had learned from his brothers. Shouting at her, how horrid, ungrateful she was, throwing things without aiming. Yelling how no one with sane mind would be with her, saying she was asking for it, flirting shamelessly with any bloke who came through the door.
It was amusing actually, to see him so angry and her so calm, her arms crossed, waiting patiently. If you looked closely you could actually see her smirking. She got confused when she caught her doing so.
What sick pleasure she got from that ? She didn't know, at least not now, when he was all in her face. After Ron's little rage episode he calmed enough to wheeze out a threat to her.
'You were just a toy, no one wanted you here, no one will ever want you, you're weak and fragile. You're stuck-up little know-it-all, alone and helpless. You will forever regret humiliating me like that.' She flinched at his words. 'I will ruin your life, 'Mione, I will make sure no one will remember you and your little face here.'
'I'd like to see you try, Ronald.'
Then it happened.
Almost in slow-motion his hand collided with her cheek. Her hand shot up, holding her now red and throbbing cheek. There was a tense silence, only for a few seconds.
Once she gathered what happened Ron was immediately blasted into a nearby bookshelf. Her eyes were wide and now filled with tears but she refused to let them slip, refused to show what he called her weakness once. She lowered her hand, that was holding a wand and went closer to her now ex-friend, who pathetically scrambled from her away.
"If you will ever, ever dare to put hand on me or any other unfortunate girl in this Merlin-dammed place I will kill you." She knelled in front of him slowly "Got it ?"
Ron was at loss of words. Never had he seen her eyes so full of anger- pure rage, even. He looked away, somewhere deep inside him he felt shame but it was too concealed with his bruised pride.
"No one will ever love you anyway, you scarred freak !"
Hermione quickly left, her feet carried her as fast as they could. She cried that night, once again, wishing upon the star to disappear.
Apparently he was serious with his little threat because the next day when she arrived to the Common Room, everyone's eyes were on her. Like that time when she was all dressed up for Yule ball, only this time the looks were more angry, no- more like disgusted and shocked even.
Hermione scanned the room, carefully reading each expression and then slowly walked towards where her friends were sitting. Only her usual seating place was now occupied with Lavender Brown.
Harry had his eyes fixed at her, they were filled with sadness and disappointment and so much anger. Ouch, that sure did hurt her. In the mean time, no one had noticed Ronald pretending to be sad but with an evil glint in his eyes, sneering pathetically at her. She saw right trough him and almost laughed.
"Will someone explain to me what's going on ?" Harry suddenly stood up and grabbed her wrist, painfully might she add, and dragged her back to the hall from where she just came, it was empty, a few students there and then.
"How dare you to ask what's going on ? Are you out of your mind ?" He shouted not bothering to keep the volume down. She frowned at him, a weird feeling started brewing inside her.
"What are you talking about, Harry ?" He laughed, but that laugh was empty, like hers in the present time. "You, blasting Ron into a bookshelf ? Suddenly our goodie-two-shoes doesn't remember, now does she? "
"What did he tell you, Harry ?"
"Enough things for it to be true."
"Really ? Are you sure about that ? " She saw the hesitation in his eyes and desperately tried to hold on to it but it was gone in a blink of an eye.
"Don't try to play this around. Always thought that you should have belonged in Slytherin." She scoffed at his childish words. How is this happening right now ?
"So what now? You won't let me tell my version? The truth." Hermione wanted to uncover her concealing charms that were hiding the nasty redness on her face but something in her head stopped her.
"Harry, he h-"
"-Truth ? Oh, Merlin that's great." He took step back and she was starting to panic.
"I'll tell you what happens now, 'Mione. You," He pointed at her."Will not come near my friends, my family. You will forget about us, because from now on we are just unfortunate classmates." He pointed a finger at her. "Don't. Test. Me. Or you will regret it." It seemed like he almost wanted to say more.
"Please, Harry, listen to me." Hermione tried to step closer but he instantly backed away.
"The only truth here is that you are nasty, sad little girl who will forever be alone. You've done your part here, you helped us through the war and that it, we did everything else ourselves." She let out a laugh of disbelief, her eyes were starting to sting from unshed tears.
"Is that what you really think, Harry?" She tilted her head a little, trying to understand if she really was talking to her dear friend.
"That's what we all think, Granger."
She felt it. It came back and hit her right the heart. Corrupting it like black ink, clouding her mind with only one word.
Alone. You're alone.
At that moment so much was going through her head. All these emotions raging from anger to sadness to right down homicidal thoughts, which should've scared her. Sometimes she felt like these thoughts weren't her own, like it was someone else thinking for her, perhaps even with her. Making her feel nothing but fury and at that moment, she only saw red, blood-red.
"If that's what you want, that's what you'll get. But mark my words, Harry Potter, when you'll realize the mistake you've made by trusting your 'best friend' and try to reach me, I will be gone." The first tear fell and hit the hard ground, making her regret ever getting out of bed.
"Don't worry a mudblood like me knows her place in this world." She turned around and lifting her head up high marched down to corridor, back to her safe place.
And that's what brings us here. Right now in the present time.
It has been long and tiring weeks in Hogwarts School, freshly out of the war the halls still held so much lost blood and tears. But everyone tried to move on and keep up the school spirit, trying to live again.
Most of her time Hermione was occupied with homework and reading, ignoring all the annoying voices in her head, telling her that that's exactly why she's alone. Hermione knows she sounds crazy but she can't do anything about it.
Sometimes she finds peace and quiet, sometimes. Mostly it happens when she's reading some book, when it's so fascinating and wonderful, then the violent thoughts calm down for a while but, sadly, books end.
The whole school now knows what a pathetic girl Hermione is. Rumors spread out faster than any disease about the 'Golden Trio' and her 'betrayal'. At least most students didn't give a shit or they didn't believe the trash that was spilling out of Ron's mouth.
She got hurtful comments about her daily, about her hair, body and all other nasty stuff. Hermione didn't care about that that much to be honest. In the beginning they did sting but the old stuff got boring to her and now she just lets out a sigh and moves on. Her house on the other hand made her mad as hell.
Loyal, she scoffed . What a load of bullshit. They wasted no time to turn their backs on her, none at all.
Fortunately, this year Hermione is the Head Girl along side with Blaise Zabini who was the Head Boy, they shared the head common room and surprisingly they got along well. Since they sat together during Defense Against the Dark Arts, and had to work on few projects, they didn't insult one another, simply talked like civilized people. Putting aside their differences.
So, she was surprised when she got called to McGonagall's office, concerning her deeply. She sat in front of headmistress' table and was told to wait until the boys arrive.
Hermione was confused. What boys ? She bit her lip, lost in her thoughts, slightly fearing that she was talking about Ron and Harry, fearing what kind of trouble they caused her now.
But when the door or the portrait, name it however you like, swung open she turned around to see Blaise and-
"Mr. Malfoy, Mr. Zabini, please take a seat." McGonagall gestured with her hand at two chairs beside the young witch. Hermione turned around and gulped.
Hermione felt his eyes on her and shifted uncomfortably, like she did in these past days whenever she felt him near her.
Since the big 'you're not our friend Hermione' thing Draco's eyes followed her everywhere, in classes, library even when he would visit Blaise in their shared living room. But yet not single remark, insult or the word 'Mudoblood' came towards her. It was strange, but she never cornered him about it, admitting that she was afraid to bring it back, the unwanted attention.
She had enough of it already.
"My apologies for troubling you this evening, Miss Granger, but it's an important matter that we need to talk about." Hermione nodded at the headmistress, letting her continue.
"You see, Mr. Zabini here, requested to switch places with Mr. Malfoy." Hermione's eyes widened a little, but she stayed silent. "And since Draco shared the same place with Blaise in Slytherin house regarding grades, he will replace Blaise."
McGonagall looked at her and was taken aback slightly by Hermione's reaction, a lack of it more like. She expected an outburst, but only saw how empty the girl's eyes looked.
"But I thought that is not allowed ?" Calmly Hermione asked the professor, raising her perfect eyebrow and turned her head quickly to look at the boys- men next to her.
Blaise was sitting quietly and Malfoy just stared at her with amusing expression, waiting for something to begin. She was disturbed by the look in his eyes, when they met hers.
"Ah yes, but Mr. Zabini thought that Head Boy's duties were too much for him to handle with homework on top, we broke rules this once, since our students education is more important and we don't want them failing." Hermione almost scoffed at that and broke the weird eye contact she had with Malfoy.
What lots of bullshit she was hearing now. Blaise always complained how bored he was after doing his homework, his annoying sighs always drove Hermione to lock herself in her room.
But through the whole talk she managed to smile and look at the ground, understanding why it was happening.
"That's fine." She lifted her head and stood up abruptly."Can I be dismissed ?" She asked, perfectly calmly.
McGonagall blinked a couple times looking right in her eyes as if lost. "Oh um, please take a seat, Hermione, just a few minutes in private with you." As Hermione sat down again she let out a silent sigh, not happy with the thought about alone talk with her Professor.
"Mr. Malfoy, all your things will be transferred tomorrow morning. You can ask the password from Mr. Zabini or Miss Granger." She politely smiled, but heard nothing from either of the boys in front.
"I hope there will be no trouble caused. Dismissed, boys." Draco didn't even look at McGonagall, not once.
When they left the room Hermione looked at McGonagall and waited patiently.
"Hermione, you're the one of the most smartest students in Hogwarts-"
"Sorry, Professor, but if it's about my grades then I can try harder just-"
"Oh no, no, dear, it's just that I heard what happened with Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter." Hermione blinked and strangely felt nothing."Not the exact story but..."
"What they said- It's - I-I." Hermione stuttered, her heart sped up.
"Dear, I know that if something serious happened you would come to me and tell me right ? " Hermione blinked and inhaled slowly "I just don't know how Mr. Potter doesn't see it. It's none of my business, I know that but-"
No, it isn't.
"With all due respect, Headmistress, but I would like to go."
"Ah. Yes just one more question." Hermione stopped almost at the door and then turned around, clearly annoyed but Minerva pretended not to see that. "Yes ?"
"Are you okay ?"
She lost herself and her ability to talk for a minute not knowing what to say, but a smile was across her face, looked right in her eyes and with calm voice said.
"I'm fine." With those words she turned around and left. McGonagall was surely taken aback by her voice.
It was cold and empty, exactly like her eyes.